AAA says 41 mln Americans were expected to travel more than 50 miles for the holiday, down about 1.5% or 600,000 people from Thanksgiving 2007. Of those, about 4.5 mln are expected to fly, down about 7% from 2007, while around 33.2 mln will drive, a decrease of about 1%. It is the first decrease in holiday travel nationally since 2002, and the largest since the Thanksgiving that followed the terror attacks on September 11, 2001.
|Reason||Percent of Respondents|
|Lower APR/interest rates||52%|
|Existing banking or other credit card relationhips||3%|
|Better customer service offered elsewhere||3%|
|Benefits for holding multiple accounts/cards||2%|
|Better account management features||2%|
The number of government-backed loans for small businesses fell by 30% in 2008 as owners struggled with tighter credit and a shaky economy, US Small Business Administration reported. The total value of loans fell 13% to $17.96 bln, while average loan size rose by $41,000 to $183,000.
51% of US small business owners said conditions for their businesses were getting worse, up from 44% in August, the credit card firm said. Another 73% said the U.S. economy was getting worse, up from 60%. Only 7% said they felt the economy was improving, an all-time low for the monthly surveys.
Share of businesses using credit cards has jumped from 16% in 1993 to 44% today, according to National Small Business Association. The proportion using bank loans dropped from 45% to 28%. A Federal Reserve survey showed that share of firms using business credit cards jumped from 34% in 1998 to 48% in 2003.
UK population is expected to increase from its current figure of 61 mln to almost 77 mln in 2060 – a rise of 25%. This would make it the largest population in the EU, ahead of the projections for France (72 mln) and Germany (71 mln). Eurostat predicts the EU population will be 506 mln in 2060, up from 495 mln in 2008. It is expected to peak at 521 mln in 2035 but then decline.
The 1,000 largest US public companies in 2007 took 41 days on average to collect payments from their customers, up from 39.7 days a year earlier and 39.2 days in 2001, REL and CFO Magazine found.
Although 75% of surveyors cite poor service as their main complaint, Philadelphians are the most generous tippers in the nation, leaving 19.6% versus the countrywide average of 19.0%. In comparison, diners in New York City tip the average 19.0% and in Los Angeles they tip 18.4%, Zagat found.
The US Census Bureau released a report that estimates that 45.7 mln Americans were uninsured in 2007 compared to 47 mln in 2006. The US Census report found that more people were covered by government health insurance programs – increasing from 27% in 2006 to 27.8% in 2007. During this period, the number of people covered by government health insurance increased to 83 mln up from 80.3 mln in 2006. At the same time, the share of people covered by employer-sponsored health insurance coverage decreased to 59.3% in 2007 from 59.7% in 2006.
6% of US households with an annual income of $45,000 or above own a timeshare unit. According to Ernst & Young, sales of timeshares reached $10.6 bln in 2007, up from just $6 bln in 2003.